The Advancement of Learning (The Oxford Francis Bacon) Hardcover – 1 Feb 2000
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While he didn't exactly invent science, Francis Bacon is its best-known early promoter. The Advancement of Learning is his 1605 argument in favour of natural philosophy and inductive reasoning, and is just as vigorous and cogent today. Though using the language of Shakespeare, the book is still largely accessible to modern readers--still, a bit of classical knowledge is helpful. Shaking off the centuries-old domination of Aristotle, Bacon advocated building scientific theories on facts and observations rather than pure reason; little has changed in our approach to understanding the world since then. Of greatest interest to historians and philosophers of science, the book will also appeal to those curious about the underpinnings of today's naturalistic thinking. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
The OFB includes a great deal of new information concerning the history of the transmission of Bacon's texts, thanks to the progress made in Bacon scholarship ... I cannot imagine a scholar who would not give preference to the convenience and complexity of the new Bacon volumes. (Acta Comeniana)
Besides the texts themselves, the volumes include substantial introductions by the editors, detailed commentary and a useful glossary that gives the modern equivalents of Bacon's terms. Moreover, scholars can consult the meticulous technical descriptions of the texts reproduced and collated. (Acta Comeniana)
The product of thorough, painstaking, and judicious scholarship ... should serve to strengthen the vitality and visibility of the Bacon project, and fulfil the aim of all sound critical editions: to ensure that the work will not need to be redone for a very long time. (Notes and Queries)
This commentary, like the introduction, is underpinned by wide-ranging and sure-footed scholarship. (Notes and Queries)
A thoroughly impressive job ... Kiernan begins his introduction with a fluent and efficient analytic summary of the contents of Bacon's book ... assured and authoritative bibliographical section. (Notes and Queries)
This new edition of The Advancement of Learning is indeed more correct, more faithful, more profitable, and more diligent than any of its predecessors, and it is most warmly welcome. (Review of English Studies)
Many of Kiernan's notes become mini-essays in themselves, striking exactly the right balance between textual, semantic, and cultural elucidation, as well as providing summary guides to current Bacon research. (Review of English Studies)
Kiernan is especially good in tracking classical and contemporary allusions; in situating Bacon on the social and political map of his day; and in discussing Bacon's understanding of humanism, rhetoric, dialectic, and moral philosophy. (Sixteenth Century Journal)
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Otherwise, this is supposed to be a groundbreaking book on the subject of learning. At the time Bacon wrote this, they had very different ideas about education and this book got things rolling in the direction that we are at today. Bacon starts out talking about all of the reasons that were commonly used to justify not educating the masses and gives reasons why they may or may not be true. He then goes on to propose things that should and should not be taught.
The book is addressed to the king, and I had forgotten how obsequious that people used to be towards royalty. Out modern tastes make it seem like serious brown-nosing. Much of what he talks about seems very foreign to us, since those types of ideas are long-gone from society. It really made me appreciate not living during those times. They style was also somewhat difficult for me to follow and is one of the more difficult reads I have had in recent years. Not understanding Latin did not help.
I cannot recommend this edition to anyone other than those fluent in Latin. I would search for an edition with hyperlinked translations to the Latin and a glossary of unusual terms and pay the small amount of money required.
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